airsoft BB

Can I reuse BBs or Will it Jam my Airsoft Replica?

Every Airsoft beginner will reach some point where they wonder if they can reuse their fired BBs. And I totally understand. You just bought your favorite Airsoft replica and don’t want to spent a lot more money on BBs right? So why not save on BBs or even reuse them? Isn’t it a total wasting all those BBs on the ground? Well I thought the same but this is what I found out:

So can you reuse BBs? No, When a BB is shot through a replica, they got through a great deal of stress. This causes various cracks on and inside the BB. This is even the case when it doesn’t impact a solid object but stepped on an kicked around. When reusing such BB your risk them breaking in the magazine or even your replica. This can easily cause jam and damage to your Hop-up system as well as the inner barrel / parts.

So is reusing BBs not done or are there some situation where you can reuse them? With the proper target for example? You will find the answer later on in this article. First let me explain in general why you can’t reuse Airsoft BBs.

Can it Damage Your Airsoft Replica When Reusing BBs?

Most pro Airsofters don’t ever reuse BBs as they don’t want to damage their expensive Airsoft replica. Even a BB with a little dent can cause major damage to your Airsoft replica. So why would you take the risk? Because you want to save some money on BBs? Ever heard of the saying “penny wise pound foolish”?   😉

Anyway, you probably spent a hundred or two hundred dollar on your Airsoft replica. And now you decide to reuse BBs. What will happen is this. If you get one BB that flat and jams up, you will get everything jammed up in the replica and ruined your replica. It’s just not worth it…

M4 style hop-up
Reuse BBs will jam your Hop-Up.

Besides that, most of you Airsofters doing Skirmishes and shooting at long range. When shooting at each other or shooting targets at long range, you want to be accurate right? But how can you be accurate when you reuse plastic BBs that are definitely deformed or chattered? It just not going to happen. Your risk them breaking in the magazine or in your gearbox. This can easily cause jam and damage to your hop-up system as well as the inner barrel.

Another thing is when you pick the BBs up from the field and you don’t exactly know what kind of BB you’re picking up. Is it 0.12g or 0.25g? It would be a guess because you can’t see it right away. And in that kind of situations you’re in a hurry to reload and attack your opponent. You don’t have the time to decide which BB  weight you’re picking up from the ground. So you’re better off looking for a teammate to borrow BBs from even if it risks getting shot.

And second, if you decide to pick up BBs from the ground, you risk to also pick up additional dirt and debris. When putting those BBs back in your magazine it will take the dirt and debris further into your Airsoft replica. This will definitely helps to cause jams and problems between your magazine and inner barrel.

And third, BBs are dirt cheap so why would you take the risk to ruin your Airsoft replica? Is it worth it? So use new BBs in your magazine every single time and you will have a great time without jams on your Airsoft replica.  

With a Proper Target You can Reuse BBs…

I think there is one major exception where you can reuse BBs. That is when you built a proper target so that your BBs will not deform or chatter when shooting. And I only would do that with an Airsoft replica that’s quite cheap and you can use for practice. Later on you can decide to choose another replica.

So how can you make a proper target where you can shoot at?

 First of all, don’t use any sort of hard material. That of course will certainly dent your BBs.

You simply take a cardboard box , some paper and something soft to put in the cardboard box like a pillow, or folded up blanket or bubble foil. You now start off by tracing an outline of the paper on the biggest side of the box. A square appears on the box.

Second, you cut it out approx 1 inch inside the line. That way you have a border to attach your paper on. Now fill the inside of the box with bubble foil (the sides and the bottom), or other soft object. This will cushioning the BBs.

Last you need to cover the hole with the paper. Tape each side of the paper to the box so the paper covers the hole. Don’t forget to draw a target on the paper so you can practice target shooting. Now you are ready to shoot the BBs with your Airsoft replica! When shooting a BB, it will only have to go through the paper and will be stopped by the bubble boil or other soft object inside the box.

or simply buy an Amazon shooting target

This is a great way to train target shooting or learn shooting in general without wasting (expensive) BBs. After shooting your BBs you can easily collect them and reuse them. But before reuse them, I always would inspect the BBs before you reuse them. If you see any damage – dents or cracks – the you definitely should throw them away.   

Reuse BBs in Mines or Booby Traps

A great way to reuse BBs is using a mine or booby trap. Some spring mines like the M18A1 anti –personnel mine, launches BBs.

Another way to reuse BBs is to make your own booby trap. These kind of things are excellent for reusing your BBs. I found a nice video on Youtube. You can see how it works and you may get some ideas for an ambush.

Setting up an Ambush with a Booby Trap

What About Washing BBs?

Some Airsofters who are not convinced yet will probably say: “Why don’t you just wash BBs in order to reuse them? Well, that’s a good question. When collecting BBs from the field, you definitely will take some dirt and debris along with the BBs. Although it’s better than not washing BBs, you still are left with BBs that are not viable and have dent’s and scratches. So even if you are prepared to wash BBs, I still would not reuse them.

Why Wash new Airsoft BBs?

If you are an Airsoft Sniper, the quality of the BBs have become an important factor. Therefor I’d recommend to wash new BBs as they come with residues of the production process. Even if you can’t see them they are there and lead to inconsistency.
In the video below, Novritsch will explain how to wash new BBs. Enjoy!

A Final Word

I do not recommend reusing BBs in an Airsoft replica at all. Some will say that reusing BB is OK for Airsoft spring replica’s but I do not agree. The moment you pull the trigger, there is stress acting upon the expelled BB. And stress weakens the BB. Once the BB has struck an object, the force can cause the BB to crack on the outside or from within.  The reuse of cracked and weakened BBs cause jam to your replica like the Hop-Up system and your inner barrel. But also other internals too.

So my advice is to pay a few bucks on good quality (biodegradable) BBs and you have enough to be able to play the whole day. The reuse of BBs will cause issues such as jamming, scratching the inner barrel and damaging parts because of dust and sand.
Last but not least, reuse of BBs will cause degrade of performance because they already damaged your replica or due to BBs being deformed.